Sadly, for many people out there this holiday sucks. And it starts weeks before and ends weeks after the actual holiday. Those of you out there with kids like my son know what I’m talking about. The noise from the fireworks is brutal to those who have sensitive ears. Even Rachel is affected by it. It hurts them physically to hear the pops and booms. It frightens them because it is not normal. One of my fellow bloggy friends mentioned that last night her son got so upset he was vomiting. As parents there isn’t a whole lot we can do. We can’t march across the street and tell our neighbors to quit with the fireworks. So what do we do!!
I found an article that has a little bit of help. Honestly, there is only one of these that would work for us…the tv. But some of you may find some tips that could work for your family members. And don’t forget those furry family members. Our pit bull is terrified of them! So she sleeps with us.
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They’re the symbol of our independence and bring joy to the faces of many. But, for people that experience intense sensory input, they can be thunderous and blinding. And each year so many of us stop and ask ourselves, “Do we go?” “What about our other children who really enjoy fireworks?” “Do we think our child can tolerate getting through this?”
Maybe there are some things we can do to help make this traditional festivity an enjoyable experience for the whole family.
Invest in a set of headphones or earplugs
Earplugs to block noise – not the ones we use for swimming. Think construction worker grade or Etymotic earplugs. Or use a set of headphones. You can even play soothing or patriotic music through them.
Turn up the TV
Sometimes we live near a venue that hosts a fireworks display or our neighbors decide to create their own spectacular show. So what do we do when our homes are invaded by the noise? Try playing predictable music or a favorite TV show that will cover sound. It might even be a good time to whip out that Playstation.
Preview the show
By their nature, fireworks are unpredictable. But we can try to prepare our kids to better help them know what they can expect. Sparklers may not have much sound, but they look like mini fireworks. You can also watch videos of fireworks displays. Here is a video of the fireworks show at Disney, accompanied by Disney music. This link to Pyro Innovations might be of particular interest to our kids that want to know what goes into the production of a fireworks display. There are multiple shows to download and they include clips of the crews setting up.
Watch from far away
A grocery store or other nearby parking lot, or the side of the road with the windows rolled up may provide a comfortable distance.
Take comfort items
Pack items that help soothe your child, such as a weighted vest, favorite toy, snacks, or handheld game.
Be mindful of the entire day’s schedule
Before the fireworks show, is there a party or a picnic? Are there breaks for downtime in the day? If it’s an overloaded day, fireworks may just put your child over the edge. If fireworks are your priority activity for the day, consider limiting some of your other planned activities.
Give that safety speech
Don’t miss this perfect opportunity to talk with your kids about fire safety and the dangers associated with explosive devices. Be cognizant too that some of our dislike of fireworks may come from anxiety or fear of being hurt. Reassure them that you are obeying the rules of safety.
And of course, be prepared that what worked last year, may or may not work this year. But isn’t that what makes our lives such an adventurous journey?
© 2009 Pathfinders for Autism